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Kavitha Ganesan

During Malaysia’s colonial era in the nineteenth century, Abdullah Abdul Karid Munsyi began the Malay writing tradition through a form of travelogue recording the rich historical and cultural roots of the Malay world. Better known as Munsyi Abdullah and now recognized as the Father of Modern Malay Literature, Abdullah disengaged classical Malay writings from existing preoccupations with fantasies and legends and, instead, introduced a narrative prose that was journalistic and observational in style. This chapter explores the Malay writing tradition as a form of popular culture that has led to lasting changes—simultaneously cutting across linguistic, ethnic and generational differences in contemporary Malaysia’s writings in English.